I’ve been harping on a lot about trailers recently. So I figured I should also mention the Farfarer, which I had the opportunity to try out in Santa Cruz, just after my visit to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in March.
I have to be honest and say I only rode it for a couple of days, with a relatively light load, as I was making the most of an unexpected opportunity to take it for a spin. And, I should add that the model I borrowed was built for 26in or skinny-ish 700c tyres, rather than the voluminous 29er rubber I was running on the Ogre – which resulted in some clearance issues.
Still, despite my limited time, I was quite taken by the Farfarer. It’s light in weight (just 4.3kg, or 9.5lbs) and simple in design, with a coupling that allows the trailer to be split into two for ease of packing or multi-modal travel. The hitch – while not being as easy to use as that on Tout Terrain’s Mule – uses a delrin bushing that’s supremely straightforward in its engineering, with very little to go wrong as a result. Spares are featherweight to carry too.
Like most singlewheel trailers, the Farfarer is rated to around the 30kg mark (70lbs) – I didn’t have anything like that amount during my short tour so I can’t comment on how it would feel. For the style of riding I do and the gear I carry (namely, my laptop, and the rough and tumble trails I drag it across) I’d spec a wider tyre than the one fitted, to offer more cushion. This said, the 20in, high pressure model rolled extremely nicely on the coastal highway – which leads me to believe this trailer would be perfect for adding extra capacity to a road bike, if that’s the only bike you have to tour on.
With its exposed but easily repaired Cordura load bag, there’s a nod to the Carradice school of aesthetics. In fact, the bag also acts as a hammock of sorts, helping to stabilise the trailer. Knowing the kind of conditions I always find myself in, I’d liked to have drain holes worked into the sling to limit water pooling during monsoonal downpours.
The bag itself is versatile though – it can hold your groceries or nest your backpack. Light objects, like a roll mat, can be strapped to the rails. If you’re looking to combine a hike into the wilderness as part of your bicycle tour, this trailer could well work out to be an interesting option.
Lastly, for those who like to support small businesses, the fact that the Farfarer is lovingly crafted in the backyard of an old, ramshackle house in sleepy Santa Cruz, may well appeal too.
All the spec is to be found here. The price is $400, plus shipping.
Update: Quentin mentioned he’s now designed a longer ‘stem’ with a higher rise for more clearance with FS/29er bikes.
Sadly I didn’t get the chance to write up this beautiful ride from Santa Cruz to San Francisco, following dirt roads when we could find them – but luckily Daniel did. We have Quentin, half of the team behind the Farfarer, to thank for route advice in traversing this serenely beautiful part of California. For sure, it’s an area I hope to return to.
If I get a chance to try this trailer out in more detail, I’ll be sure to post some more thoughts. But in the meantime, have a look at the website to get more of a feel for what it’s about. And be sure to check out Quentin’s nuggets of wisdom if you’re thinking of touring the dirt roads of Northern California – his notes will have you itching to head west, to ride amongst the towering redwoods and along the windswept Pacific Coast.